What to Expect
Targeted therapy has revolutionized the treatment of lung cancer, offering new hope and improved outcomes for patients. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, targeted therapy works by identifying specific genetic mutations or abnormalities in cancer cells and targeting them directly. This personalized approach can lead to better treatment responses and fewer side effects.
If you are beginning targeted therapy for lung cancer, here’s what you can expect:
- Genetic Testing: Before starting targeted therapy, your healthcare team will perform genetic testing to identify specific mutations or alterations in your cancer cells. This will help determine if you are a candidate for targeted therapy and which drugs are most likely to be effective for your cancer type.
- Treatment Plan: Once the genetic testing results are available, your healthcare team will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific lung cancer. This plan may involve one or a combination of targeted therapy drugs, depending on the genetic profile of your cancer cells.
- Administration: Targeted therapy drugs are usually taken orally, in the form of pills or capsules. The frequency and duration of treatment will depend on the specific drug and your individual treatment plan. Your healthcare team will provide detailed instructions on how and when to take your medication.
- Monitoring and Follow-up: Regular monitoring is crucial during targeted therapy treatment. Your healthcare team will schedule periodic check-ups, including imaging tests and blood work, to assess the response to treatment and monitor for any potential side effects. It is important to attend all scheduled appointments and communicate any concerns or changes in your health to your healthcare provider.
- Treatment Response: Targeted therapy can lead to significant tumor shrinkage and disease control in many lung cancer patients. However, the response to targeted therapy varies from person to person. Some patients may experience a rapid and dramatic response, while others may have a more gradual or stable disease course. It is essential to have realistic expectations and understand that individual responses may differ.
- Lifestyle Adjustments: During targeted therapy, it is important to prioritize self-care and make necessary lifestyle adjustments. This may include maintaining a healthy diet, staying physically active within your capabilities, managing stress, and getting enough rest. Your healthcare team can provide guidance on lifestyle modifications that can support your overall well-being during treatment.
Targeted therapy has transformed the treatment landscape for lung cancer patients. Starting targeted therapy involves genetic testing, personalized treatment plans, regular monitoring, and potential side effects. It is essential to work closely with your healthcare team, communicate openly, and adhere to the prescribed treatment plan. By doing so, you can maximize the benefits of targeted therapy and improve your overall quality of life.
While targeted therapy is generally well-tolerated, it can still cause side effects. The side effects associated with targeted therapy are often different from those of traditional chemotherapy. Common side effects may include skin rashes, diarrhea, fatigue, and changes in liver function. It is important to report any side effects to your healthcare team promptly, as they can provide guidance and support to manage these symptoms.